Long drives, Romanchak carry Freeport over Burrell
TribLIVE Sports Videos
With the hopes of a sixth straight WPIAL playoff berth flickering, Freeport played ball control Friday, staging three offensive drives that resulted in two touchdowns and a 12-10 victory over Burrell.
After Burrell had taken a 10-0 lead, a 70-yard, 14-play drive put the Yellowjackets on the scoreboard with 4:50 left in the half to end a streak of nine consecutive scoreless quarters.
In the third quarter after a nine-yard Burrell punt, senior Mitchell O' Shell culminated a relatively short drive with a 15-yard scoring run to give Freeport the lead.
But the Yellowjackets virtually put the game away with an 18-play drive in the fourth quarter that ate up nine minutes. Freeport lost the ball on downs, but Andrew Romanchak intercepted a pass on Burrell's first play from scrimmage to secure the victory.
The win puts Freeport (2-4, 2-4) one game behind fourth place Summit Academy in the Allegheny Conference. The top four teams go to the Class AA playoffs.
Burrell (1-4, 2-4) still is mathematically alive in the playoff race with three weeks to go, but the Bucs will have to win their last three games and get some help with tiebreakers.
Romanchak played a great game on both sides of the ball, rushing for 111 yards and engineering the three key possessions before his pick-off with 2:37 left in the game.
“The team played a great game tonight; we had a lot of underclassmen step up,” Romanchak said after an emotional post game huddle on the field at James Swartz Memorial Stadium.
“Everybody just came together. We have two moms of teammates with breast cancer; we're all representing them. Everybody was up for the game.”
“Andrew's unbelievable,” said Yellowjackets coach John Gaillot. “Hard-nosed kid. A leader. He doesn't lead by voice, he leads by actions.”
Burrell's first possession of the game ended with a 35-yard field goal by Austin Hatbob.
Following a fumble recovery by Andrew Fisher, the Bucs drove 47 yards in seven plays, with Ryan Sowol bursting through the middle of the Freeport defense for a 24-yard scoring run.
“A few mistakes that we made kind of broke us,” said Burrell coach Kevin Horwatt, who became a father for the first time earlier Friday when daughter Riley was born.
“Overall, our kids played four tough quarters of football — sometimes things don't go your way,” Horwatt said.
The Bucs ran just 12 offensive plays in the second half, picking up one first down.
During the protracted fourth-quarter drive, four Burrell defenders sacked Romanchak at his 12.
But a defensive holding call against the Bucs enabled Freeport to get a first down on short yardage.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- South Fayette extends winning streak in dominating fashion vs. Steel Valley
- Penn-Trafford QB Laffoon sets career TD pass mark in rout of Hempfield
- Daily Courier Q&A: Uniontown’s Christian Forsythe
- Knoch gets big boost from QB’s return in win over Hollidaysburg
- Serra Catholic soars to victory over Riverview on game-ending kick
- Clairton uses big second half, key turnover to pull away from Jeannette
- Armstrong runs past Greensburg Salem
- After another slow start, Greensburg Central Catholic defeats Leechburg
- Valley Independent roundup: Bentworth’s Tush scores 6 TDs in win over California
- Shaler edges Fox Chapel in Quad North play
- Mt. Lebanon still unbeaten after 98-yard INT return sparks rally vs. Bethel Park